How to Ask for a Donation in an Email: Suggestions to Try

March 18, 2019

Did you know that a simple email can bring financial aid to your organization?

That’s right!

When it comes to requests for funds, emails are unmatched. They not only reach many people at a single go but they are also cheap.

It can also be one of the most challenging aspects of working for a charity organization.

In addition, emails ensure you remain accountable by providing a channel to update your donors on the progress of your projects. Even so, not every email you send will drive your prospects to action.

In some cases, the donor might not open the email, let alone read to the end. Here's how to ask for a donation in an email:


Understand Your Donors

Before you can solicit funds via email, it’s paramount to know your donors. For starters, you can evaluate their past donation records to your organization and other institutions.

For example, inquire the amount of money they last gave to charity, how often they give, their preferred mode of cash transfer, and the projects they often contribute to.

From this information, you can conclude if a donor is a worthy target. You are also armed with facts that will guide you when drafting an email that will invoke emotions and prompt the contributor to reach into their pockets.

Grab The Prospect’s Attention with Your Subject Line

It is important to note that donors are busy individuals. They receive countless emails daily, and they don’t get the chance to read them all. So how do you make your mail stand out from the rest of the emails in their inbox?

The answer lies in these two words: subject line.

Sadly, most people concentrate on the body of the email and treat the subject line as an afterthought. While there’s not an exact way to create a subject line, you can achieve a high open rate by incorporating the following tips when writing your subject line. 

email donations 

Tell the truth

Your subject line should reflect the message in your email. While a misleading subject line may prompt the recipient to open an email, the reader is likely to divert your message to the spam folder once they discover your motive.

Experiment before sending the official email

Say for example you have a total of 100 prospects and 2 subject lines named A and B. To determine the most suitable subject line, send an email to 10 prospects using subject line A and forward the same email to another 10 prospects using subject line B.

Afterward, pick the subject line with the highest response rate and use it on the remaining 80 prospects.

Keep it Brief

One look at the subject line should give the donor an idea of what the email is about. Although a subject line shouldn’t be too short, it shouldn’t be too long either. Anything between 30 and 50 characters is best when asking for a donation in an email.

Get Straight to the Point

Donors appreciate a straightforward approach when asking them for money. This not only saves time but also portrays you as a genuine individual. That said, you must always quote the specific amount you need. After all, the donor is clueless about the cost of your project.

However, your estimates should be based on research. You don’t want to provide a value that is lower or higher than the total cost of the project.

Similarly, don’t be too rigid about your demands. Remember that the donor doesn’t owe you anything. Even when you know how to ask for a donation in an email, be open to negotiations.

how to ask for a donation in an email

Most importantly, let the prospect know where their donations are going. By so doing, you will gain their trust and welcome more contributions in the future.

Personalize Your Email

It’s easy to succumb to the urge of filling your emails with generalized statements. What you forget is that donors are human beings too and love to be treated as such. First off, address each of them by name. You can put their name at intervals within the email or on the subject line.

This grabs the donor’s attention and creates the impression that you value your relationship with them. However, refrain from overdoing it. Mentioning names too many times can be annoying and may portray you as manipulative.

Another way to achieve personalization is by segmenting your mailing list. You can use the information your subscribers provide in their sign-up forms to separate your donors.

For example, a regular contributor should receive a different email from someone who recently registered. Segmentation will help identify similarities in your followers so that you can target donors according to their interests.

Direct Your Readers to Where They Can Contribute

Now that you know how to ask for a donation in an email, after appealing for donations, interested persons will only be able to give if you show them how.

Channels of contribution can take different forms. To start with, you can attach a link leading to an online payment platform within your email.

Alternatively, you can provide your phone number and ask willing donors to contact you for more information. You can also urge people to deposit their money in an indicated bank account. Providing an address for people to send their checks to is also in order.

The donation links should be visible for everyone to see. Depending on the nature of your project, either you can specify the amount each individual should contribute, or you can let the givers decide.

People have different preferences so the more donation channels, the better.

how to ask for a donation in an email

Learn from Previous Experiences

Perhaps you’ve been part of an email campaign before. Did it turn out as you had anticipated? If it did, incorporate the same strategies in your new campaign. However, if you didn’t succeed, try to learn from your failures by avoiding all the techniques that didn’t work out.

There are several metrics for monitoring the performance of former projects. An example is looking at the email conversion rate. Did you know how to ask for a donation in an email?

This data helps you weigh the number of people who opened your email against those who actually donated.

If those who opened the correspondence exceed those who contributed, the conclusion is that the subject line was compelling and that the recipients were not satisfied with the content of the email.

A prudent course of action, in this case, would be to change the structure of your emails in the next campaign.

Final Thoughts

If you know how to ask for a donation in an email, it is possible to raise substantial funds. All you have to do is impress the donor enough to make them contribute towards your cause.

To do this, apply all the above strategies. But, most importantly, take time to understand them and analyze previous interactions.

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